Drexel preps for early tipoff

Last season we had "Brunch with Bruiser" when Drexel hosted Penn at 10 a.m. on a weekday.

Tomorrow, it's "Breakfast with Bruiser" when the Dragons play at Niagara at 8 a.m.

This is not a misprint. The game is part of an ESPN hoops marathon. For really early risers, Monmouth plays St. Peter's at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Anything to get on national TV . . .

At least Drexel is accustomed to practicing in the mornings. Under coach Bruiser Flint, the Dragons frequently practice at 7 or 7:30 a.m.

"Any game before noon is a battle of who's awake," Flint said, laughing. "When you're dealing with these kids, sometimes they aren't awake at 7 o'clock [p.m.].

"I'm sure they're going to have some type of thing like we did last year with the fans. We expect to see a real hostile crowd."

As Daily News colleague Ed Barkowitz suggested in his "50 Things to Ponder About College Basketball" last week, an 8 a.m. game should be sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts. Or Starbucks.

Flint said he has been advised by Drexel trainer Michael Westerfer that the players should eat a big meal tonight, then just have a continental breakfast before the game (extra strong coffee). The Dragons (0-1) plan to arrive at Niagara's Gallagher Center about 6:45 a.m.

Last season, Niagara defeated Drexel, 67-62, at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. The Purple Eagles, coached by former La Salle assistant Joe Mihalich, have four starters returning from last season's 26-9 team. Niagara dropped its opener, 69-65, at Auburn.